Ankle Foot Orthosis Instructions

Learn more about how to use your Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO).

How to Put on Your AFO (Leather & Metal)

  • Apply a sock on the foot needing an AFO.

If leather and metal…

  • Loosen the laces or Velcro on shoe.
  • Sit with knee bent to 90 degrees and use a shoehorn to slide the heel into the shoe to prevent breakdown of the back of the shoe. Make sure foot is all the way in the shoe.
  • Secure the laces or Velcro on shoe.
  • Apply tension to the leather and Velcro shin strap and securely fasten.

If plastic…

  • Slide foot into brace. Make sure heel is all the way back and foot is fully seated in the brace.
  • Apply tension to the Velcro shin strap and pull for snugness.
  • If brace has a figure 8 strap, make sure Velcro is crisscrossed over the front of the ankle and securely fastened. Make sure the soft pad is securely fastened to strap closest to ankle.
  • If brace has a front shell, apply the front section of the device, making sure its sides overlap the back section. Fasten all of the straps to secure the front part of the brace to back.
  • Once all straps are fastened, use a shoehorn to slide the heel into the shoe to prevent breakdown of the back of the shoe.
  • Fasten shoes.

Wearing Schedule

Just like a new pair of shoes, an AFO has a breaking-in period. The following guidelines help the body adapt to the brace gradually.

  • Day 1: Only use brace for one hour.
  • Day 2: Use brace for two hours.
  • Day 3: Use brace for four hours.
  • Day 4: Use brace for eight hours.

Remember to schedule an appointment with your orthotist for an adjustment if you’re feeling any discomfort.

Orthotic Device Cleaning and Maintenance

The best way to clean an AFO is to spray rubbing alcohol on the inside and wipe it down with a dry cloth to remove any residue. If your AFO has foam padding, it’s recommended to clean once a week to prevent build up and eliminate odor.

Also, if the Velcro is not sticking well on the brace, check for lint build-up on the Velcro and remove it.

Important Information

Take the following precautions with your AFO:

  • If your AFO is plastic, don’t wear it without shoes as the slick plastic could cause a fall.
  • Don’t overuse your brace during the initial wearing phase, as this may cause skin irritation.
  • If your body weight changes, the AFO may fit differently.
  • Do not sleep in your AFO.
  • Be aware that changing shoe styles can affect your standing/walking balance.